The Joint Apprenticeship Program

An Overview

Apprenticeship is the combination of on-the-job training and related classroom instruction in which workers learn the practical and theoretical aspects of a highly skilled occupation. Apprenticeship programs are operated on a voluntary basis by employers, employer associations or management, and labor groups. The related classroom instruction is given in the program sponsor’s training facility or a local technical school or junior college. Apprenticeship in Construction has been described as the “doorway to opportunity.” Apprentices – at little cost to themselves – learn skills they can use the rest of their lives. Training gained through apprenticeship has enable many workers to advance to better jobs.

Apprentices of today are the supervisors, superintendents, and contractors of tomorrow. Ambitious young persons needn’t stop advancing once they become a skilled tradesman. Supervisory positions become available as they improve their skills, knowledge, and ability to direct and guide people in their trade. Advancement, of course, depends on the individual.

Through contractual agreement, both the pipefitting and plumbing trades have Joint Apprenticeship Programs and Committees. Both programs adhere to regulations and standards which are registered with the Ohio Apprenticeship Council. The Labor Department’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training assists in the formulation of and the carrying out of the standards.

What is an Apprentice?

An apprentice is a worker who learns a craft skill through planned, supervised work on the job, plus related classroom instruction. Moreover, when working on the job, an apprentice is a regular part of the work force and earns wages while acquiring an important skill.

The apprenticeship training period for pipefitters and plumbers is 5 years. Apprentices are taught the proper use, care, and safe handling of the tools and equipment used in connection with their work. To round out their training, classroom work is required in subjects related to the trade.

Men and women 18 years old are eligible to apply. Applicants must be physically able to do the work of the trade. Both trades require a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) certificate, and an entrance exam is taken by all applicants. The apprenticeship programs provide equal opportunity to all person, regardless of race, sex, ethnic group, religion, or age. Equal opportunity also means equal treatment in pay, promotions, layoffs, and evaluations.

Women are strongly encourage to find out about both the pipefitting and plumbing trades. Both programs offer women excellent opportunities for employment in jobs that are both personally satisfying and well paid.

Wage Increases

Apprentices earn while learning on the job; the more they learn, the higher the pay. Apprentices in the pipefitting and plumbing trades are paid approximately 35% of a journeyperson’s wage to start. As they climb the ladder to the final qualifications, their wages are increased at regular intervals. At the end of the term of apprenticeship, they become journeyperson and draw full pay for their skill.

A Construction Trade is Good Insurance

Training in the skilled construction trades is good insurance. In addition to opportunities for promotion and steady employment, it gives you something that no one can ever take away from you – a lifelong increased earning capacity will enable you to get and keep a well-paying jog anywhere in the country. Skilled hands and a trained mind give the owner a strong feeling of security which, in some ways, is better than money in the bank.


Pipefitting Trade

What They Do

Install piping systems that carry hot water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases needed for industrial production, or other uses. Install both high or low pressure systems, especially in industrial and commercial buildings. Layout, fabricate, and assemble pipes form drawings, blueprints, and specifications. They also work on pipes for heating and cooling systems, and install automatic fire-sprinkler systems in buildings.

Working Conditions

Pipefitters work both inside and out. In new construction, pipefitters move onto the project after the basic structure is erected. The work is active and strenuous. There is a great deal of walking, standing, reaching, lifting, and working in cramped quarters. The workers are subject to the hazards of working with and around high-pressure gas, steam, and chemical lines.

Interest and Temperament

Pipefitters must have the ability to solve arithmetic problems quickly and accurately and understand detailed, written, and verbal instruction. Normally work with different individuals on each job.

General Qualifications

  • Minimum age is 18
  • Have aptitude of mechanical ability and manual dexterity
  • High School diploma or GED certificate
  • Written standardized test may be required
  • Educational Background Recommended

Reading, general science, general math, geometry, trigonometry. Also courses covering hydraulics, welding, metal shop, machine shop, mechanical drawing, and blueprint reading are encouraged.

Admission Requirements of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee

  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Personal interview
  • Terms of Apprenticeship Training
  • Length of apprenticeship – 5 years
  • Probationary period of one year
  • 160 hours of classroom per year
  • 1,750 hours of on-the-job training per year

Related Job Opportunities:
Building inspectors, industrial pipefitters, pipefitter welder, foreman, superintendent, estimator, project manager. Technician jobs in solar and nuclear energy are also related.

Plumbing Trade

What They Do

Responsible for the installation of water line systems to kitchens, bathrooms, lavoratories, etc. in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. Also install natural gas and air lines. Assemble, install, and repair pipes, fittings, and fixtures according to specifications and plumbing codes. Measure, cut, thread, bend, install, and test pipes and pipefittings. Work according to blueprints, specifications, and working drawings to perform the work required in sequence of installations.

Working Conditions

The work is active and strenuous. Stand for prolonged periods of time, sometimes in cramped, uncomfortable positions. Must climb ladders, also work below ground level. Work can be dirty, particularly on waste systems.

Interest and Temperament

Need good math abilities and able to work from drawings and specifications. Plumbers work alone and sometimes in groups.

General Qualifications

  • Minimum age is 18
  • High School diploma or GED certificate
  • American citizenship or declaration of intent

Educational Background Recommended:
General science, physics, algebra, geometry, metal shop, welding, drafting, and blueprint reading.

Admission Requirements of the Joint Apprenticeship Committee

  • Written and oral exam
  • Transcript of high school records or equivalency
  • Terms of Apprenticeship Training
  • Length of apprenticeship – 5 years
  • Probationary period of one year
  • Indentured (agree in writing to complete training) to Joint Apprenticeship Committee

Related Job Opportunities:
Building inspectors, master plumber, foreman, superintendent, estimator, project manager.

Joint Apprenticeship Committees

The actual selection of apprentices is done by members of a Joint Apprenticeship Committee. These are people with considerable experience representing both management and skilled labor. The Committees are sometimes assisted by the Labor Department’s Bureau of Apprenticeship and Training (BAT), the Cleveland School Board, Cuyahoga Community College, and the Recruiting & Training Programs.

Contact Us

Pipefitters’ Joint Apprenticeship Committee
6305 Halle Drive, Cleveland, Ohio 44125
Telephone: 216.524.8334
Fax: 216.524.2385

Plumbers’ Local No. 55
980 Keynote Circle, Cleveland, Ohio 44131
Telephone: 216.45.2900
Fax: 216.459.2901